§ Mr. Allason
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the position of employees who are suspended by their employers during short-time working and who will 411W no longer be entitled from 1st January, 1972, to unemployment benefit for the first six days of such suspension under the terms of the National Insurance Act 1966 (Commencement No. 3) Order, 1971.
§ Mr. Dean
It is the Government's view that the financial support of employees who are laid off for short periods and during short-time working should be the concern of the appropriate industry and not of the National Insurance Fund. The problem has been tackled in several industries where guarantee agreements have been concluded in recent years which guarantee a payment to the employee during short-time working. The Government would welcome a further extension of guarantee agreements to other industries. They do not propose to introduce legislation to make such agreements compulsory, however, as they are convinced that it is better to have freely negotiated agreements, tailored to meet the requirements of individual industries concerned, than to attempt to impose agreements on the employers and employees or lay down the form which such agreements should take.